“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision”
– Peter F. Drucker
Decisions drive our business. So how can we make more courageous ones?
Below are three suggestions that may give us the depth of a much larger organisation – for a fraction of the price.
1. Minimise decision making.
Decision fatigue is real. We operate in an always-connected, 24-hour world. Some sources suggest we make up to 35,000 decisions a day. Sounds like a big number? On food choices alone we make over 227 decisions every day. And keep in mind, not every decision we make is “necessarily conscious”. Add to this the fact that successful business leaders often hold the trait of evaluating all the available options, which is known to also elevates stress.
Doesn’t sound like such an impossible number anymore? That’s because it’s not. We need to take it seriously. This will need a broader solution than just following Steve Jobs’ famous hack to wear the same outfit every day. Which may not actually reduce our conscious decision making in any great respect.
So how can we realistically reduce the number of decisions we make in a day? The solution is based in Automation and Delegation.
Try ONE of the four options below. Reduce the complexity around your decision making. (HINT: Your current finances and capacity may direct your choice):
- Automate: Introduce technology to remove the Maybe you could improve your email filter. Or jump in the dep end and introduce a wide-scale technical solution;
- Delegate: Pass repetitive task(s) to an existing team Or create (and hire into) a new position for that express purpose;
- Outsource to external parties – From engaging a VA (virtual assistant). All the way up to contracting in an
- Expand your ‘Personal Board of Directors’. This will enhance your ability to make the courageous Informally – pick up the phone and book a coffee with a trusted colleague to explore your thoughts. Formally – seek out and engage a reputable coach or mentor.
2. Create routines.
Routines delivers many benefits. These include efficiency, resilience and prioritisation. Establishing a routine helps us introduce healthy habits and break poor ones.
Routine will also allow us to replenish our energy. Decision fatigue (overuse) results in decisions that reinforce the status quo. Evident in manufacturing, the court system, and even politics. Even top surgeons have been found more reluctant to schedule a new surgery with a patient when it is late in their shift.
And remember to include breaks in your routine for nourishment and mindfulness. A micro-break allows our resources to recover. And food has the added bonus of delivering energy (in the form of glucose) directly to the brain.
It’s important to also remember that fatigue can also cross over from work into our home life. As business professionals, we are already grappling with a bleeding between our roles.
a. Develop a way to create or improve your routine. Spend a few minutes before bed jotting down the things you need to first attend to the following morning. Or create your day/week in more detail, using some of the automation options discussed above.
b. Include food breaks and rest/mindfulness This will increase the chances of you actually doing them.
3. Take advantage of the “Butterfly Effect”.
Many actions we choose to take can give us advantages in other areas. For example, exercise impacts resilience, creativity and even productivity. Most adults we should aim for an average of 7-9 hours’ sleep per night. And we are unable to make up for lost sleep unless we adopt a strict routine of regular longer sleep periods. Smart food choices improves our cognition, focus and problem-solving abilities. And our physical environment impacts us in the same way teams can (Some are toxic. Some are beneficial).
Pick one choice from the list below, and introduce it to your routine for 30 days. What difference did it make for your business?
- Exercise – Begin a physical activity that you’ve always wanted to Or revisit your favourite sport/exercise from childhood.
- Sleep – aim for a minimum of 7 hours sleep a Monitor when you are short, and schedule specific nights when you can sleep a little longer to recover.
- Food – Cut out a fast food Or introduce a healthier alternative for a poor one.
- Environment – Minimise distraction. Declutter. Harness the benefits of natural spaces
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